The first time I ate cold soba noodles was while flying on Japan Airlines. The noodles were served in a little black lacquered box with dipping sauce, a step up from the airline standard cup ‘o soup snack. I tucked in and was surprised to find the noodles were cold! These noodles were a revelation; they were so refreshing! I know airplane food is not normally inspiring, nor usually the best example of a nation’s cuisine, but these noodles were shockingly good.
When I got home, I wanted to try making them myself and thought it might be nice to combine the noodles with some tofu and beautiful fresh Maitake mushrooms. Of course, you can replace the tofu with the protein of your choice; fish, chicken, or even roasted pork belly. After I made this dish, almost 7 months ago, I’m not sure why, but I never posted the recipe.
In February my husband and I booked a week long trip to Japan for this month. Then on March 11th, disaster stuck Japan in a trifecta of traumatic events; first a 9.0 earthquake off north eastern Japan, followed by a devastating tsunami, and a nuclear power plant on the verge on meltdown. We watched the aftermath glued to the TV, horrified and helpless.
Many people mobilized to support Japan, and of course the food blogging community stepped up to the plate with several plans to raise money. Three fantasic bloggers, Rachael Hutchings of La Fuji Mama, Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama, and Marc Matsumoto of No Recipes teamed up to create a cookbook called Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan. This cookbook will be a collection of nearly 50 family friendly Japanese and Japanese-inspired recipes and the list of contributors is an incredible group of well known food bloggers and cookbook authors. I am so honored to have been asked to participate.
It seems that my recipe for Soba Noodles with Mushrooms and Grilled Tofu was meant for a higher calling after all, and will be published in this book rather than here on my blog. Instead of the recipe I will tempt you with this photo and ask you to buy the book. Blurb has generously offered to print the book at cost and the book will be edited by publishing professionals who have volunteered their time. It will be printed as a full-color hardcover book and hopefully inspire you to try cooking some Japanese recipes at home.
In case you’re wondering if we decided to go to Japan after everything which happened, yes we did! We’re here now and loving every minute of it. If you’d like to follow along, check out my travel blog, wired2theworld, and the blog’s Facebook Fan Page for all the up to the minute photos. If you only want to see the food, check out the Facebook Fan Page for Former Chef.